Title: Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1
Developer: Kojima Productions
Release Date: October 24, 2023
Reviewed On: PS5
Genre: Tactical Espionage
Even newcomers to gaming are likely familiar with the Metal Gear Solid series, a franchise that has left an indelible mark on the gaming world. Developed by Kojima Productions, this series blazed new trails within gaming genres, setting a bar that many have since tried to reach but ultimately fallen short of. Achieving the perfect Metal Gear formula demands excellence in every aspect, from characters and narrative to gameplay. To claim that a game is influenced by this series, everything must align flawlessly. Following Konami’s misstep with Metal Gear Survive, they seemingly realized the challenges of creating something fresh within the established Metal Gear universe. Instead, they chose to revisit the past, providing modern players with a means to relish the earlier entries through Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1.
Introduction: Embracing the Metal Gear Legacy
Dedicated fans of the series might swiftly recall that this collection essentially duplicates the 2013 PS3 release of Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection, with the notable exception of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Consequently, one can examine this release from various angles, but the primary focus here is on the opportunity it affords new players to immerse themselves in these essential games using newer hardware.
Metal Gear Solid series excels in exemplifying how to execute stealth masterfully.
Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 encompasses a comprehensive lineup of titles, including Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Metal Gear on NES, and Snake’s Revenge. The last two entries in that list can be conveniently skipped or explored for novelty’s sake. Personally, I don’t regard them as integral components of the collection, but opinions may differ. In any case, it’s a substantial assortment of games, and upon installation, your PlayStation taskbar will become brimming with Metal Gear titles. Regrettably, Konami did not see fit to incorporate a launcher for these games, which could have been a thoughtful addition to preserve the history of the series.
Most of the voiced games within the collection offer the option to download Japanese audio, accompanied by a few minor adjustments to the settings. However, the enhancements in this regard are fairly superficial. The most noticeable improvements in graphics are evident in Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3, but let’s not rush ahead. Each title contributes significant elements in terms of characters and gameplay mechanics, yet they all share a common thread – stealth. This concept is intriguing, as many games struggle to execute stealth mechanics effectively. While Metal Gear Solid presents options for bypassing or manipulating enemies, it excels in exemplifying how to execute stealth masterfully.
The Essence of Stealth: A Common Thread
Emphasizing the importance of remaining hidden is central to these games, as killing enemies yields no tangible rewards. This notion is reinforced in later installments, offering unlockables to players who complete the game without taking lives or collect enemy dog tags. In this sense, the core gameplay structure remains consistent across all the titles; they retain the same charm and essence of the games you fondly remember. However, there is room for improvement, particularly in enhancing the on-screen text and animations in the original Metal Gear Solid for the PlayStation. It appears that minimal effort was devoted to enhancing the visuals of that particular release.
The timeless narratives in these games offer intricate political commentary while treating players with respect.
Nevertheless, the collection includes all regional versions of the game, even incorporating VR Missions. The narratives in these games are timeless, making them essential experiences that every gamer should undertake in their lifetime. They offer intricate political commentary while treating players with respect, regardless of their understanding of the complex storyline. Furthermore, experimentation often uncovers Easter Eggs and innovative approaches to challenging situations. It’s safe to say that even after playing through the series for the fiftieth time, there are still moments of wonder and revelation. Although the controls may take some time to acclimate to, these games are invaluable additions for future fans.
Visual Enhancements and Performance
Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3, though distinct from each other in many ways, have received similar graphical updates within this collection. Given that it is based on the HD Collection versions, there are no discernible differences when compared to those titles. It’s worth noting that there are mods that enable these games to run at resolutions higher than 1080p, but the collection restricts players to that resolution. Nevertheless, these PS2 classics run at a smooth 60 frames per second, a welcome enhancement. Still, one can’t help but wish that Konami had gone the extra mile for this definitive collection.
Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 is a nostalgic journey that allows new players to experience the iconic Metal Gear series on modern hardware.
Revisiting Metal Gear Solid 2 invoked a wave of nostalgia for me. Almost immediately, I sought to confirm that the poster Easter Egg remained intact. However, the character animations displayed a somewhat peculiar smoothness, rendering the characters with an appearance that suggested they had all undergone Botox treatment. Fortunately, Metal Gear Solid 3 did not exhibit this issue, possibly due to its stunning aesthetics and meticulous design direction. In any case, there were no performance issues or peculiar anomalies to report.
In-Depth Evaluation and Conclusion
While the absence of a dedicated launcher is regrettable, the collection does provide some well-designed menus for easy access to the games. Additionally, it offers art galleries and soundtracks for those seeking more content, but the primary focus is undeniably on the games themselves. The price of admission is justified, given the exceptional quality of the titles. If you haven’t delved into this series before, now is your opportunity. Admittedly, there’s room for improvement, but the sheer excellence of these games renders this collection a compelling choice.
Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 is a nostalgic journey that allows new players to experience the iconic Metal Gear series on modern hardware. While some of the games may not have received extensive visual improvements, the timeless narratives, and innovative gameplay mechanics continue to shine. The emphasis on stealth, the intricate political commentary, and the potential for experimentation make this collection a must-play for any gaming enthusiast.
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